September 6, 2006

Job News ... Finally

A couple weeks ago, I discussed the contract negotiations I was going through regarding a new job. I had to keep the actual details quiet, because things were still going on behind the scenes in order to get everything finalized. I initially expected to get the go-ahead to spill the beans relatively soon, which is why I hinted at what was going on.

Had I known the whole process would be delayed for various reasons, I would have at least tried to keep things to myself for a while longer. In other words, as amusing as it was to watch people here and elsewhere speculate about my new employer for the past two weeks, it was never my intention to build up this much drama or suspense. Thankfully, everything is now set in stone.

In addition to maintaining this blog for going on five years, I have written for a number of other outlets, both online and print. Chief among them for the past several years has been RotoWorld, which also syndicated my columns to places like and I officially became a full-time RotoWorld employee in March, gaining the title of Senior Baseball Editor.

Since then I've helped run the baseball section of while providing daily content of my own covering both baseball and football, and have written for and helped edit the Beckett-published Fantasy Sports Monthly. It has been a wonderful experience in just about every possible way and I'm pleased to announce that things are about to get even better.

Three of the four major broadcast television networks have become major players in the online sports marketplace, with and competing with the ABC-owned for a growing readership that some estimates peg at around 70 million people per month. Meanwhile, the fourth major network, NBC, has remained relatively dormant.

That's all about to change. is undergoing a complete overhaul and will have a from-scratch re-launch in conjunction with the start of the network's new Sunday Night Football, which kicks off the NFL season by debuting tonight. The goal is to compete with industry leaders and by offering news, scores, stats, video, columns, and fantasy games.

RotoWorld and its parent company, All-Star Stats, have been sold to NBC Sports and will be a major part of the new-and-improved site. The acquisition and's overhaul have gotten an incredible amount of press, so rather than try to explain the details I'll point you to articles from USA Today, the Associated Press, Media Week, Broadcasting & Cable, Reuters, and MediaPost.

As part of the site's re-launch, has brought in mainstream media veterans like Tom Curran of the Providence Journal, Alan Abrahamson of the Los Angeles Times, Darren Rovell of ESPN, and John Walters of Sports Illustrated to anchor the football coverage, and will roll out a similarly impressive roster of writers for other sports in the coming months.

Which is where I come into the picture. I've agreed to a multi-year contract to join the stable of writers, covering both baseball and football. I'll be focusing on the same RotoWorld-based fantasy content during the site's infancy, with my role expanding gradually once begins to fully take shape.

In my brief writing career, I've been lucky to get in on the ground floor several times, from starting up this blog back when few people even knew what a "blog" was to creating The Hardball Times three years ago. I've found the start-up experience to be incredibly rewarding on a number of different levels and am thrilled to be getting that opportunity again with one of the country's largest media outlets.

I've spent much of the past couple months learning about both NBC Sports and its parent company, General Electric, and in the process have become very excited about the direction is headed. There's an incredible leadership base in place to carry out an aggressive and detailed plan, and I'm proud to be part of it.

In terms of how this impacts the good people who come here each day to read my thoughts on the Twins and Jessica Alba, the answer is "not much." As part of my new agreement with NBC Sports, I will cease writing for various other outlets, but I made sure to include a stipulation in my contract that allows me to maintain (it was harder than you might imagine).

Beyond that, I promise to continue taking the mainstream media to task when they deserve it, despite the fact that I'm now arguably a member of the mainstream media myself. Scary, huh? I also promise not to become a shill for everything NBC, although I must admit to watching and loving the first two seasons of The Office recently and buying a GE speakerphone for a conference call last month.

So, there you have it. This news is pretty huge for me, but is no doubt underwhelming to those of you who took my lengthy silence on the issue to mean that it deserved any kind of drama. With that said, it does allow me to dream about meeting Jenna Fischer at an NBC holiday party some day. I even have a conversation-starter lined up for when we cross paths.

I learned last night that Fischer, whose brilliant portrayal of Pam Beesley has me incredibly smitten after watching a couple dozen episodes of The Office in a row, is married to screenwriter James Gunn. Why is that noteworthy? Because his brother is none other than Brian Gunn, who ran the now-defunct Redbird Nation blog and has contributed a number of articles to The Hardball Times.

More amazing than me somehow convincing myself that she would care about such a thing is that I stumbled upon this information only after writing the above line about meeting Fischer at an NBC get-together. The lesson? It's a small world when you write about baseball and crush on actresses, and you should always check to see which celebrities the people you know are related to.

While you ponder that and whether or not I'm deserving of a restraining order, make sure to check out the redesigned, which featured an article by Yours Truly on the front page yesterday. If Jenna isn't impressed by that, I don't have a chance.

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